In this video, we meet Thailand’s blind national football team who have been training for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games for months, while far away from their families, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the Paralympics having started on August 24, the team that only qualified after Iran pulled out, is raring to give their all.
“At first, I thought my friend was lying. I thought it was unreal,” says Prakrong Buayai, the captain of the football team. “But after I heard it from the association and the coach. I was super, super happy. It is my ultimate dream.”
Each blind football team has four outfield players who must be classified as completely blind, and one goalkeeper who must be sighted or partially-sighted.
“In blind soccer [the US term for what Europeans call football], when we attack each other, the players need to shout ‘Voy Voy,'” says coach Kongkiat Kongdanprai. “And we use a ball that makes a sound so that blind players can hear the rattling sound.”
The team is like a family, with coach Kongkiat Kongdanprai taking care of the team members like his children.
“We are the last in the rank, but I think we are second to none,” says Kongkiat Kongdanprai. “Our players are confident, as we’ve been practising a lot. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can win a medal.”
The timetable for the Paralympics 5-a-side football matches can be viewed here.
View the original video here.
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